All Baltic Sea countries bar Russia have agreed to cooperate more closely on offshore wind and target a near-sevenfold increase in capacity by 2030.
There is currently 2.8GW operational offshore wind capacity in the Baltic Sea – most of it in Denmark and Germany – according to WindEurope.
The heads of government and energy ministers of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden have now set their sights on increasing that to 19.6GW by 2030.
They also plan to consider a 2040 target at a later stage, according to declarations signed at a Copenhagen summit on energy security in the region.
The Baltic Sea countries recognised that they need to speed up permitting in the declarations.
And WindEurope added that a strong European supply chain – backed by “massive investments” in offshore grid infrastructure, port facilities and vessels – will also be needed in order to meet the 19.6GW target.
Its CEO Giles Dickson said that cross-border cooperation – especially on grid development and maritime spatial planning – will be “essential” to meeting the new targets.
The governments met amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent ongoing energy crisis as Russia cuts off power supplies to Europe.
Until recently, much of the Baltic region has been dependent on Russian energy imports, industry body WindEurope noted. It added: “Installing more offshore wind will accelerate the phase-out of Russian fuel and increase the region’s energy security.”
The Danish ministry of climate, energy and supply explained that “in the long run, the answer to the threat to security of supply is renewable energy”. However, the ministry added that in the short-term the Baltic Sea states must cooperate on alternatives such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
It added that they must also explore the possibilities of using energy islands to establish electricity connections across the Baltic Sea. Denmark and Germany recently agreed for the latter to receive electricity from an energy island in the Danish Baltic Sea.
Germany and Denmark are the only countries with large-scale wind farms in the Baltic Sea, but others want to follow. Poland aims to have 6GW by 2030 and 11GW by 2040. Finland wants its first large-scale offshore wind farm online later this decade. Sweden recently identified its first three offshore wind zones. And Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all want to commission their first offshore wind farms before 2030.
The Danish energy ministry added that it expected that for 2030, Denmark would have 6.3GW of offshore wind capacity in the Baltic Sea, ahead of Poland (5.9GW), Germany (3.8GW), Lithuania (1.4GW), Estonia (1GW), Sweden (700MW), Latvia (400MW) and Finland (100MW).